Monday, March 15, 2010

Big Project Part 2

I am exhausted, but yet satisfied.

It's 5 days till my bf's birthday. I decided to do something special starting today.
We name this week "The United Nation Week".

This is the first day of celebration.

For the opening ceremony, I attempted to make fresh pasta with my new standmixer that I bought last October.

I began with Jamie Oliver's recipe of the basic pasta dough. Not sure if it's the low humidity of my apartment or the size of the eggs, I found it a bit dry to mix 200g of flour with 2 eggs. I end up adding the 3rd egg with a big dash of flour. I also added about a tablespoon of olive oil to add flavour. The dough looked pliable and silky smooth. Not a bad start huh?

Then I attached the new pasta gadget that I got on sale 2 weeks ago to my standmixer. Hey it worked - at least the first 5 inches! And then, uhoh, it stopped! The next thing I remembered was sparks coming out from the motor, and that's it. Hey, it's my first time for fresh pasta dough! Don't ruin my fun... ...

Nope, it did not run again. My first purchase for my new place has stopped running after giving me 15 minutes of fun. I didn't expect the first gift I gave to my bf's for his birthday is to ask him to call KitchenAid tomorrow for warrantee service!

So now what? Back to the basic of course! I whipped out my rolling pin and started my workout. Of course I cannot get to as thin as what the machine can produce. I call it - the udon sized fettucine.

Thank god I started off with a really nice dough, so even though the pasta was a bit thick, it's not that bad at all.

Alright, enough of that. Next off , and the highlight of the night, croquembouch for dessert!

I am not joking. This is my first time to make croquembouche. I had learned how to make caramel and choux pastry separately at George Brown a few weeks ago, but then I burnt my caramel badly in class and the choux pastry was only plain jane with whipped topping. This was actually a test piece. (Oh yeah, I think I got this bad habit from my mom, both of us love trying out new things when we expect to have company or making gifts. We rarely test out recipes prior to the events. A lot of times it fails of course. Haha.)

I actually baked these little puffs last Thursday. The keep really well if you do it right.

I freshened up the puffs by putting them briefly in the hot oven to get rid of a bit of sogginess, then let it cool down before fill them up with custard.
Not sure about how it will stand up and to control the size of the tower, I made a paper cone out of parchment paper. I knew the caramel won't stick to the paper and I can always deconstruct the paper cone if it does stick to it - a better idea then using a bowl as a mold.

Then the fun part - making the caramel and assembly! These two steps has to be done continuously, so set up the table next to the stove, get a wet towel ready, line up the puffs before making the caramel.

The assembly is actually pretty easy. The key is to act fast, be responsive (don't let the sugar burn and don't let it cool down too much), and prepare to burn some fingers! If you go accidentally put your fingers into the hot caramel,  use the wet towel. For some reason, the first thing i did was to put it in my mouth. Lucky I didn't burn my tongue as well!

I used the remainder of the caramel to spun some sugar strands to wrap the croquembouche around. Viola! My first croquembouche was born!
So proud of myself. And believe it or not, I did these all in my 12 square feet kitchen!


  1. Impressive! You should make another tower with macaroons!!!

  2. very nice, I made one last year but was only for showing we did not eat it, check it out

    the post is in spanish but you can see the pictures.

  3. you created a masterpiece on your first attempt. brava

  4. Jenn: I need to practice making macaroon first. I have failed quite a few times already.

    Nico: that tower and sugar art are impressive, and those blisters... hope you are ok. Lucky my finger nails saved me from burning myself.

    Linda: thanks!



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